LIVERMORE -- The Pleasanton National Little League Intermediate squad will play on a world stage right in its own backyard.
Led by dominant pitchers Evan Wolfe and Mitch Benson, Pleasanton National, as the District 57 champion, will compete in the inaugural Little League Intermediate Division (50/70) World Series at Livermore's Max Baer Park, beginning on July 30.
VIPs from Little League International Headquarters in Williamsport, Pa., and Major League Baseball are expected to attend the big event -- baseball's new baby, in which there will be a 50-foot pitching distance and 70-foot bases.
"It's exciting. The kids are excited," Pleasanton National manager Dave Lander said. "It's a great opportunity for them to represent Pleasanton, the district, and they're just over-the-moon about it."
The World Series festivities will start with a parade in downtown Livermore at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 29, beginning at Bankhead Theater.
Pleasanton National will open the 10-team event against the U.S. Central region champs at 6 p.m. on July 30, as part of a six-team United States' Pool. The International Pool will feature teams from Asia-Pacific, Canada, Latin America, and Puerto Rico. ESPN will televise the Aug, 5 championship game live.
Intermediate baseball, for 13-year-old players, bridges the gap between major Little League (46-foot pitching; 60-foot bases) and standard baseball diamonds. Intermediate play began as a pilot project internationally in 2010.
Pleasanton National has a Junior program with 80-foot bases, so the 70-foot distance is no big deal.
"It's actually a bit small," Lander said of the 50/70 field. "We've been practicing on the bigger diamond, the '80 field,' because that's what our season consisted of mainly. We had to play 13 games of the 50/70 distance to qualify for the World Series."
Livermore got the nod to host the World Series over finalists Vancouver, Wash., and Chicago.
"For it to be landing in Livermore and to have the world basically dropping in on our stage for about 10 days should be a pretty big deal," said Dave Wetmore, Intermediate World Series director and District 57 administrator. "We'll see how it goes."
Wetmore expects 10,000 people to attend the event -- the first of its kind on the West Coast.
A strong-hitting club with versatile, multisport athletes, Pleasanton National defeated Granada 9-2 in the District 57 championship game to gain the automatic Series berth.
Also on Pleasanton National's squad are Trevor Bergmann, Quinn Brinnon, Max Heverly, Jimmy Kaufman, Drew Kobayashi, Max Lander, Nate Lau, Andrew McGinty, Cal O'Laughlin, Nick Orecchia, and Trevor Wallace.
"They just all get along.," Lander said. "They're all good friends. They hang out with each other. On top of that they're all really good ballplayers. They want to learn. They want to get better, and most of all, they want to have fun out there.
"They've just really tried to stick together so they would have this chance to get to the World Series."
Pleasanton National president Daryn Oxe is thrilled to be a part of a world event in the Tri-Valley.
"I think it's a great opportunity to participate in the tournament," he said. " I know the boys are all really excited, and a lot of the parents and other players in the league are excited to go out and support them. We've been talking them up as much as we can and supporting them as much as we can. We just hope they can have a good showing."